April 3rd, 2009
08:55 AM ET
9 years ago

Speaking in Europe, Obama slams 'anti-Americanism'

STRASBOURG, France (CNN) - At a town hall meeting Friday in France, U.S. President Barack Obama lambasted what he called "anti-Americanism" in Europe and called on European nations to change along with the United States.

At times in recent years, the United States has "shown arrogance and been derisive," he told the packed crowd. "But in Europe there's an anti-Americanism that is at once casual but can also be insidious.

"Instead of recognizing the good that America so often does in the world, there have been times where Europeans choose to blame America for much of what's bad."

"On both sides of the Atlantic these attitudes have become all too common," he continued, saying such attitudes can leave both sides "more isolated."

In order to confront the economic crisis, both sides must find new ways of working together, the president added. "Let me say this as clearly as I can: America is changing. But it cannot be America alone that changes."

Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (150 Responses)
  1. Mari

    @ Kevin in Ohio......... I am what you would label a, liberal, and I have never...... ever......... hated my Country!

    Kevin, what I have hated and many other liberals have hated is when our American laws and values are trashed by neocons, like Bush & Co.!

    For example, when the GOP, lead by Bush, question our patriotism because we are against the war in Iraq, we hate, that our love and patriotism is questioned because we do not agree with the Bush regime!

    When we see our Constitution trashed, disregarded because Bush/Cheney believe that torture of our enemies is legal!

    We hate, that our Nation became a joke in the World, with Bush's arrogant "cowboy diplomacy".

    We...... Liberals....... do not, hate our Country! We have hated what our Nation became under Bush/Cheney!

    April 3, 2009 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  2. frank tx

    Idont give 2 bits what europe thinks they can kiss my hine parts for all I care. Im from tx and I hope my state leaves the union anyway.

    April 3, 2009 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  3. Travis In Colorado

    And I know several people from Europe who live here in Colorado that love America, they came over during Bush's term, they love Bush, and they said that a vast majority of Europeans love America and Bush. The media only finds the very few Europeans that hate America and Bush, and they milk that cow for all it's worth! And all this so called Obama Mania is being generated by the media, nothing more. And there are far more America haters here in America, they are immigrants who come here wanting to change America into whatever hell hole country they came from, and despise Americans, and what we have, and what we represent. They don't call themselves Americans, but instead as Iranians, Iraqi's Afghanistani, Pakistani, and every other country in Africa and Asia. Those are your Anti-Americans, for the most part.

    April 3, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  4. Robin

    The Anarchists in England love him too. Is that a good thing?

    April 3, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  5. Robin in SC

    There he goes again...saying exactly what needs to be said in just the words that need to be heard to just the folks who need to hear it. So nice to feel proud and patriotic because our president is representing our country well on the world stage instead of being afraid of what stupid thing he'll say or do next as we have for the past 8 years!

    April 3, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  6. New Yorker

    Barack Obama said, "there have been times where Europeans choose to blame America for much of what's bad."

    And times when Americans will too.....anyone remember who said,
    “For the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country”?

    April 3, 2009 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  7. Kevin in Ohio

    Hmmmmm... I'm not alone among the "right wingers"..... I guess it REALLY IS the Left that is the most hateful.......

    April 3, 2009 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  8. globalgroove

    @William 'It looks like Obama is getting a taste of reality. All the attitudes about America were not the Bush's fault. I just hope he doesn't try to appease the rest of the world by selling the US out.'

    I wonder where you got the 'selling us out' line...wait I know..it's Billo The Clowns Talking Points today. Goodness, you can't even be original.

    April 3, 2009 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  9. a canuck

    By the way ...has anyone else noticed that President has a cold and is still thinking clearly ??

    April 3, 2009 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  10. James

    Why do dems care so much about how the Europeans view us???

    This must be some deep physiological need to feel superior and good. The liberal elite think that they are superior morally and intellectually and they need that acknowledged by the world.

    Or is it the influence of Warren Buffet, George Soros and Huffington? They are all foreigners.

    I say be who you are and stop making excuses for us being who we are! We do not need to become Europe and we do not need their approval or acceptance!

    April 3, 2009 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  11. Some guy

    I wonder how many of these right wingers have ever travelled anywhere outside of their backwards little podunk red states. Liberals don't hate America. Just the arrogant right wing morons who, from time to time, take the wheel of this country and run it into the ground. Watching them squirm these last few months has been great. America rocks. Have a nice day!

    April 3, 2009 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  12. U gotta be kidding

    I must say good job Obama for once. lets hope it's not just lip service. but OUR economy it is our fault we voted in the Barney's (Frank) who gave a house to every one even if they couldn't afford it and created the money pits fannie and freddie.

    April 3, 2009 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  13. Denver Mom

    Did he tell Mrs Obama this as well?

    April 3, 2009 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  14. Carl Caster

    If by Americans who are anti-American you mean Americans who are so disgusted by sicko American conservatives they feel loathing for their own country, then yes, there are a fair number of anti-American Americans. As there should be...

    April 3, 2009 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  15. hab

    Nothing is important than having beloved president in the world. God bless the president and USA.

    April 3, 2009 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  16. Fair is Fair

    @ Michael Noonan,

    Well put.

    The flip side is also true (see Expat American's diatribe regarding "Redneck Billy Bob"). Fact is, there's plenty of worn out stereotypes on both sides.

    Which really does get to the gist of one of the largest problems facing America today – that being, the inability of the citizenry to celebrate our differences instead of showcasing them in some sort of school playground game of "gotcha".

    And for what? Believe me, the politicians you support really don't care about you one bit. They are concerned with one thing and one thing only – their hold on power and their ability to grab some more.

    Sad... very sad.

    April 3, 2009 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  17. Acrab

    The dems during Bush's administration were total obstructionists, I mean they only voted for every bill ever passed! FISA, shielding telecoms, war, etc. You're right though, they vehemently voted no on everything on the party line...wait, actually, they voted for every bill passed because when they didn't (not funding the war) they were derided for being unpatriotic.

    April 3, 2009 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  18. Michael M. Noonan

    I've rethought this. Even worse than the presumptuousness as to how politically different people are going to react, it is the ecumenical goo that an adult would find disturbing. "I sooooo love President Obama." "President Obama is sooooo charming and articulate." Charming maybe, but "articulate"? You have to be kidding. I've never heard so many bromides in my life.

    April 3, 2009 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  19. Jeremiah

    Europeans blame America just like Michelle Obama, Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers, and the Obama Administration. Barry should look at the man in the mirror.

    April 3, 2009 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  20. antillian

    To all yanks that say"they would still be speaking german if it wasn't to us" arrogant ....very arrogant. If you can't even learn your own history don't make stuff up. If it wasn't for all the freedom fighters("enemy combatants" in the german tongue) in those countries you so called liberated. D-Day would not be succesfull. If the british didn't hold out against the germans many more young brave yanks would have died. It was a World War not an American war

    April 3, 2009 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  21. mamosa

    Truth has been spoken. Europe blames America, rightly and wrongly for the problems. Americana are guilty of self-hate that leaks out toward our leaders. This happens on the right and the left.

    America is changing fast, as the world is.

    If we don't work together we won't survive. Each of us needs to do our personal work to heal ourselves, our communities, and look for positive things we can do for the planet. We are in a fragile condition. Will hate destroy us? Or love help us?

    April 3, 2009 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  22. stephen

    frank tx- "Idont give 2 bits what europe thinks they can kiss my hine parts for all I care. Im from tx and I hope my state leaves the union anyway."

    I am just about sick and tired of hearing this. I love my state, but I love my country as well. The union is sacred, so many have died to preserve it. I hope you realize that as powerful as Texas is, seceding would be a belligerent action and war would result. However, we are unfortunately quite well armed here...

    April 3, 2009 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  23. Linda from Minnesota

    This president is brilliant. I am proud of him and for the first time in a very long time, I am proud of my country. It is beyond my grasp that anyone wishes this man to fail.

    April 3, 2009 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  24. Danny E. Gonzalez

    I thought the president deliver a very good speech in France today; he did not go there to kiss their feet, rather in a more human manner he presented the case that we shoulkd have a renewed purpose and that the relationship between America and Europe should once again be fruitful and it should be allowed to prosper... this is a very positive step and the crowd reacted very positive to the fact that the leader of the free world made himself available to them to speak to them and to remind them that America is a friend to Europe and a friend to the world... Bravo! I voted for Hillary in the primaries I am a bit more conservative but I recognize intelligence and poise and this president has both.

    April 3, 2009 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  25. Triggidy

    Why aren't there more conservatives like you, Michael Noonan? That was the sanest, most clearly put comment I've heard from your side in an awful long time. Thank you for that.

    I spent three and half months in Europe back in 2003, and the amount of crap I had to listen to over there was pretty high with regard to politics. I got into these tired circular arguments with people from Norway, Scotland, and on and on as soon as they found out I'm American. All of this was probably there before, I'm sure, but comments like Rumsfeld's gem of "Old Europe" really poured gas on the fire. I then spent a year in South Korea in 2005 and 2006, and when they found out I was American, their reactions were almost uniformly positive. Go figure. Dae Han Min Guk, I suppose.

    April 3, 2009 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
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